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Joseph Gordon-Levitt on ‘Snowden’: What He Did Was a Really Positive Thing for the Country

“I would consider it an honor to tell his story,” said Joseph Gordon-Levitt at the New York City premiere of “Snowden” at AMC Lincoln Center Tuesday night.

Levitt plays Edward Snowden in the political drama surrounding the whisteblower’s untold story of how he came to reveal illegal surveillance activities performed by the National Security Agency.

“First off, I was just flattered. But I really had a lot of learning to do. My personal opinion is what he did was a really positive thing for the country,” added Gordon-Levitt.

The Oliver Stone-directed film also stars Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, Scott Eastwood, LaKeith Stanfield, and Ben Schnetzer.

Stone, who visited Russia nine times and consulted with the real-life Snowden on the project, told Variety that this film was created to shed light on the “human being” who is often called either a “traitor” or “hero.”

“I want to know what he was thinking, walk in his shoes,” Stone said. “That gives us a true understanding of who he is and his humanity because people have characterized him.”

A glimpse into that humanity includes a girlfriend of ten years portrayed by Woodley. “I think that their love only made his decision stronger because there had to have been so much thought and processing that went into a decision that not only affects you, but your life partner of a decade.”

After the screening Gordon-Levitt, Quinto, and Stone shared a few laughs at the Ascent Lounge. Guests, including Sean Penn and Michelle Monaghan, enjoyed white wine and small bites amidst dim lighting and a beautiful view of Columbus Circle.

“Snowden” bows Sept. 16.

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